Recipe: Whiskey and Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are a lot of good, but not great cookie recipes out there. #deepthoughtsbycourtney Yes, that goes for lots of recipes in the universe, but lets stay on topic. It's rare for me to stumble upon a cookie recipe where I feel like it hit-it-out-of-the-ballpark. These Whiskey and Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies are one of these unicorns.

Firstly, lets talk size. I love that the recipe directs us to make the cookies BIG, like a two-handed cookie, which makes me swoon. Secondly, lets talk flavor. This puppy is perfectly well-balanced, my favorite parts being the rye flour, which gives it a subtle earthiness and the vanilla salt, an unexpected topper. I mean, why use regular old salt when you can make the world better by using vanilla salt?! I just want to sprinkle that shit on everything!

Best thing about this recipe? It was created by my fellow alumni from San Francisco Cooking School and can be found on! Two thumbs the fuck up!

My <dorky> pastry hat is tipped to you guys!

Whiskey and Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe by San Francisco Cooking School
Yield: 16 cookies

1 1/2 cups chocolate wafers (discs, pistoles, fèves; preferably 72% cacao), divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rye flour (I used dark rye flour, but light is ok too!)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1 teaspoon bourbon
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

1.  Pulse 3/4 cup chocolate wafers in a food processor until pea-sized pieces form OR chop into small pea-sized bits (what I did because I'm a lazy sack! Food processors are a pain in the ass to clean).
2.  Whisk all-purpose flour, rye flour, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.
3.  Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until light and fluffy, 3–4 minutes. Add egg, vanilla, and bourbon and beat until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and slowly add dry ingredients, mixing just to blend. Fold in chopped chocolate and remaining chocolate wafers.
4.  Portion dough into 16 balls (about 1/4 cup each) and transfer to a rimmed sheet sheet as you go. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill at least 3 hours or up to 1 day.
5.  Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Scrape vanilla seeds into sea salt in a small bowl and mix to combine (save pod for another use).
6.  Divide dough balls between 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 3" apart. Flatten each ball to about 3/4" thick and sprinkle with vanilla salt.
7.  Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown around the edges, 14–18 minutes (cookies will firm up as they cool).
8.  Let cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.

Recipe(s): The Hunt For The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

I have a buddy who is equally as much of a dessert fiend as I am. He’s been known to eat a WHOLE pan of brownies in the middle of the night because he “just couldn’t help himself” (true story). One of his favorite desserts is chocolate chip cookies and he’s been pestering me to post a recipe for these. Oh, I'll post one all right, how about we go on a little hunt for the BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe? Boomtown.

My game plan was to try out four different recipes (I mean, a girl can only make so many different choco chip cookies in a day) that have grabbed my attention in some way, but still have all the classic cookie ingredients. I also wanted to do a blind taste test to see which of these took the gold. I chose a sunny Sunday to stay indoors and embark on my quest and after gathering all of the ingredients, it was go time. Here are the four different recipes I tried, along with my review of each one.

Supplies: check! The cookie scooper my new FAVORITE baking tool.

One thing to note, the taste-testers were real softies and had a hard time ranking each of these. There were a lot of cookies that tied for 2nd or 3rd place- I don’t even think anyone gave out a 4th place. It felt a lot like elementary school tee ball where everyone got a trophy at the end of the season, even if your team came in dead last. Hell, did they even keep score at that age? I digress, back to cookie makin’!

Nestlés Chocolate Chip Cookies

First up: Nestlés Chocolate Chip Cookies. A classic. The recipe is conveniently located on the back of the Nestlés Chocolate Chip bag. Such smarties. I choose this recipe because it’s an all-American cookie to me. Anytime I needed to make a batch of choco chippers, I reached for this recipe. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s always a crowd pleaser.

Nestlés Chocolate Chip Cookies
: Makes 60 cookies 

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

1.  PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
2.  COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
3.  BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

The taste testers really enjoyed these, myself included. Some said it tastes like a chocolate chip cookie should taste like- no bells and whistles. My dad gave it 1st place because it tasted familiar and comforting, a cookie you'd have with your family after a  home-cooked meal. My sister gave it a tied 1st place (here we go) for the same reasons, but a few of the taste testers weren't as impressed and gave it a tied for 3rd place <gasp>.

Overall Rating: 4 sticks of butter

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this next recipe through a gal I was in a foodie book club with. She claimed it was the best chocolate chip cookie she’s ever eaten, but you don’t get that sense by the way the recipe is named: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. It sounds like my 3 year old nephew named it, but I was still curious enough to give it a go, because you know, the name could be telling the truth. She’s also an amazing baker/chef so I knew they had to be pretty legit.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
: Makes roughly two dozen cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 12 oz. bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips (use the highest-quality chips you can afford)  Note: I used Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Using an electric stand mixer, cream sugar and butter until combined, about 1-2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
3.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture. Finally, add chocolate chips and mix until incorporated.
4.  Using an ice cream scoop or two spoons, drop golfball-sized mounds on a cookie sheet about two inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown along edges.

These cookies took 1st prize for presentation. They looked really pretty coming out of the oven- nicely puffed up with a lovely light tan color. As far as taste went, they were buttery and noticeably a bit sweeter than the others. The taste testers liked these a lot, most giving them a solid 2nd place.

Overall Rating: 4.5 sticks of butter

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Next up was a recipe I’ve wanted to try ever since my coworker raved to me about them, saying they were her go-to cookie recipe: Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. I chose this recipe because they sound like a cookie should sound like: un-wimpy. There’s nothing worse than a wimpy cookie, am I right?

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
: Makes 18 jumbo cookies or two dozen regular sized cookies.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (more or less, as desired)  Note: I used fancy chocolate: Scharffen Berger 62% cacao semisweet chocolate baking bar, coarsely chopped

1.  Heat oven to 325°F (160°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.  Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside.
3.  Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in egg, yolk and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in chips to taste.
4.  Roll scant 1/4 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves ninety degrees and with jagged surfaces facing up, join halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth dough's uneven surface. Place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving 2 1/2-inches between each ball. Pro Tip: I didn’t do this. It sounded confusing so I just used my cookie scooper and called it a day.
5.  Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, about 18 to 22 minutes.
6.  Cool cookies on sheets. When cooled, peel cookies from parchment.

Well, these were exactly what I expected: thick and chewy. They came out looking super flat, but definitely had the best texture of the bunch. The taste testers weren’t as impressed with these mostly ranking them at tied for 3rd place. I’d have to agree with their ranking- the flavor wasn’t as buttery as I tend to like my CCCs (chocolate chip cookies).

Overall Rating: 3.5 sticks of butter

NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies and the taste testers in action.

Lastly, I took a stab at the famous New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, adapted from Jacques Torres. There’s a lot of hub-bub around this recipe so it seemed blasphemous not to try it out. Sadly, I did not follow the recipe exactly because high-maintenance Jacques asks for the dough to sit 24-48 hours. Frankly Jacques, that’s too long to wait for cookie consumption, come on. After cursing Jacques name, I settled on making the dough first, let it sit for most of the day, and bake them last. Close enough.

NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
: Makes two dozen cookies

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content Note: I used Scharffen Berger 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate baking bar, coarsely chopped
Sea salt.

Directions - NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
1.  Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2.  Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4.  Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

This recipe was annoying to make, but damnit, I’d be a liar if I said it wasn’t delicious. Consistency was spot on and the bittersweet chocolate with the hint of salt was a perfect pairing. The taste testers agreed, almost everyone ranked them at 1st place. Lots of love for the salty addition. Jacques, you’ve done good you handsome, baking bastard. (I just googled Mr. Torres after calling him handsome. Perhaps I was a little generous with that description.) If you have the patience to make these cookies, do it, because they’re really good.

Overall Rating: 5 glorious sticks of butter

Final Thoughts?
If you’re looking to dazzle someone with a CCC and happen to have 24-48 hours to wait, definitely make the NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie. It’s a hit and a half. If you want to impress people with a darn good-looking cookie, go for The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Lastly, to my dessert-loving friend who inspired me to go hog-wild with cookie baking, the next time you’re in town, a batch of one of these cookies is on me!